Sunday, February 17, 2008

Thinkin' Of A Master Plan...

In the last episode of Militant Angeleno, the Militant found his way though the streets of Chinatown, watching a parade, lion dances and hundreds of tubes creating confetti explosions. But that was one whole week ago.

What exactly is going on here? (dramatic horn blast)

Has the Militant gone lazy? (another dramatic horn blast)

Has the Militant Angeleno scaled back his operations to weekly posts? (yet another dramatic horn blast)

Does this mean the end of the Militant? (okay, real long dramatic horn blast)

Stay tuned, Angelenos!

The Militant got up early for a change on a Saturday morning, yet not early enough that he needed the aid of Metro Rapid 754 to take him and his two-wheeled chariot down to Exposition Park for yet another community workshop meeting junta confab-type event. This time, it was for the Los Angeles Bicycle Master Plan regional meeting for the Central and South Los Angeles areas (the first in a series of four), which took place at the historic Los Angeles Swim Stadium 1932 Olympic Venue, now adaptively re-used as a recreational center for the local community.

Around 40 concerned cyclists were in attendance, making their presence known not only in the second-floor community room but in the overflowing bicycle racks (pictured right) that stood outside the building where the attendees parked.

The meeting was largely a primer session from Mia Birk of the Portland-based consulting group Alta Planning, who was contracted by the Los Angeles Department of City Planning to spearhead the community meetings and to help update the plan itself, which currently consists of a system of 300 miles of (mostly non-connecting) bikeways out of 7300 miles of City thoroughfares. Birk talked largely about methods and facilities employed in other cities in the U.S. (especially in Portland) and in other countries that adapt existing road structures into to a more bicycle-friendly infrastructure.

At one point, four profiles of people's attitudes towards bicycle riding which ranged from the "Strong & Fearless" hardcore down to those who wouldn't touch a bicycle with a ten foot pole. One attendee did point out that another demographic - the working poor who can't afford cars or even transit - were left out of the picture (The Militant already had his work cut out for him at this point), and it was pointed out that it was them who are the everyday bicycle commuters (even though they generally ride on the sidewalk). The consultants tried to shoehorn them into an existing group, which was a stretch, but it was apparent that there was some sort of socioeconomic disconnect on the part of the Portland-based group (though the Militant has seen working poor in Portland as well). Their presence was absent from the meeting, despite the fact that there were printed materials and live translators in Spanish.

Normally at these kind of community workshop meeting junta confab-type events, there's the requisite, interactive break-out sessions, which were planned towards the end of the meeting, as the consultants and City staff were ready with their maps and Sharpie markers. But the maps - which depicted the entire city - and not specific regions - were way too small to be of any practical use (like your fist would cover all of Downtown - that small). So attendees just used the time to chat amongst each other.

Participants were encouraged though to post their routes online via the website, an international bike route resource, and save their routes with "LA BMP" in the title. The Militant will surely add his Los Feliz to Koreatown Vermont Bypass Bicycle Corridor route all up in there.

The Bicycle Master Plan Meetings continue in other regions over the next few weeks. The Militant orders you to be there, and hopefully ask for some larger maps:

The Westside: Wednesday, February 20 (that's like, this Wednesday)
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Felicia Mahood Multipurpose Center
11338 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Los Angeles

The Valley: Wednesday, February 27
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Marvin Braude Constituent Services Center
6262 Van Nuys Blvd. (Van New York Blvd?!?)
Van Noise

The Real Southside (aka Pedro, The Harbor area): Saturday, March 1
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Banning's Landing Community Center
100 E. Water St.
Wilmington (okay, it's not quite Pedro)

The Eastside: Sorry, guess that means that they just don't care about you.

After this round of community workshop meeting junta confab-type events, the City and the consultants plan follow-up gatherings in November.

Following the meeting, around 20 cyclists went on a ride to the Watts Towers, organized by Strong & Fearless-category velocommuter and blogger extraordinaire Will Campbell. The Militant may or may not have joined the group, but operative reports indicated that it was a very fun and educational excursion into South Los Angeles on a beautiful day.


Damien Newton said...

Great review of the meeting. I was out of town so I couldn't go to this weekend's meeting, but you did a great job covering it. Thanks.

fatpinkchicken said...

Hmm. I'm really sad I missed this.